Wednesday, January 29, 2020

FINALLY COMPLETE------Watching the Hearings

I've blogged about this table before...

******(You don't need to read the following paragraph--it's basically written out for me to remember the agony that I went through to get this table right).****** 
It has been nearly a year since I bought the antique marble that was on the root base to fit on a French butcher's table.

Then I thought that the root base was a great decorative element. So, I bought a large ugly coffee table for $50 so that I could steal the 1 in. thick glass top for the the root base. Of course, I wasn't happy with a simple rectangular top--I then took the glass to have the corners canted............When Roberto put the super heavy new glass on the root base, we realized that the four roots that were to support the glass were not level.....I then ordered custom lucite blocks to level the table. When we put the glass back on, Roberto and I decided that the root base needed stabilizing. Roberto took the root base to Camilo in LA and I went the next day to explain in minute detail to Camilo exactly what he had to do: .......make a platform base to raise the table up to 29 inches and reinforce the root base making sure that it was precisely level. Camilo put off working on the root base (which probably allowed him to forget what he needed to do to the table). Camilo then made the platform (which I had modified after it was done) and stabilized/reinforced the root base----and I thought that we were good. Camilo promised me that the table was level. Roberto picked up the table in LA; we brought it up stairs; put it on the platform; put the very heavy glass top on it....... and guess what? Camilo had leveled the bottom of the table but not the top where the glass sat. STEAM arose from the top of my head and out my language was not ladylike.......... Not only that, Camilo had stabilized the roots wrong and they could not be readjusted....... So I called Camilo and I was as nice as I could possibly be (under the circumstances). I insisted that he come pick up the table (I had already paid Roberto for two trips to LA and that is pricey). Camilo met Roberto and me on Sunday and Roberto explained to him exactly what needed to be done to make the table "right"---- in order to make the table level, some of the root tips had to be trimmed quite a bit. In order to bring the table back up to the standard 29" height, I designed feet for the platform which, of course, needed to be altered AGAIN............two weeks later Roberto went to pick up the table AGAIN. He took his long level and made sure that everything was as it should be (no more trusting Camilo's word)........We brought the table upstairs, placed the root base on the altered platform and finally placed the super heavy glass on the base.....And voila (many months later)---the table is PERFECT. I'm calling this "the Little Ol' Lady Who Swallowed the Spider to Catch the Fly that Wiggled Way Down Inside Her" table.....hopefully, never again.
This job has its complications....but it keeps me creatively solving problems which I love.

Now to new adventures.......
We bought this sweet little Flemish writing or side table last week. She dates to the late 17th/early 18th century...see the similarities between this table and English William and Mary tables? Same type of turned legs and stretcher and similar proportions. (William of Orange--the Netherlands--was also King of England and brought with him Flemish design elements) This little table was quite pricey...


But we also brought home a sleeper (I love sleepers). This is an 18th century Gustavian (Swedish) drop front secretary chest. The photos do not reflect the charm of this piece. It does have its problems, but those are easily restored.

There was not enough room for me to squeeze open the drop front, but the desk section is jam-packed with drawers and even a tambour section. But there are restorations in order: see the missing dentil molding section right below the top? The back feet are bad replacements--so will need to make new back bracket feet. And there's a section of molding at the bottom of the right side that needs replacement. All of the original hardware and locks w/keys are present. Also--this is a two-part drop-front which means that it probably dates to c. 1785, maybe a bit older--and I love almost everything that dates to the 18th century.'s off to Camilo with the drop front. (Fingers crossed that Camilo doesn't forget what needs to get done.)

I was going to ramble on about THE IMPEACHMENT of mr. small "t": I cannot believe that Dershowitz actually says the things that he does and claims the things that he claims. He must think that all of us are idiots. I believe that there is a designated place in hell for liars; and an especially horrendous corner for those who are both liars and traitors.
I am praying for God to raise up the dry bones of the Republican Senators' consciences. And I do have faith.

Now it's off to bed........
Thanks for checking in with me...

Mary & Cole

Saturday, January 11, 2020

LATE START TO 2020--AMERICAN 18th C. BACHELORS CHEST OR Wonderful George II Little Chest, Part II

Isn't she pretty?

First auction of the year.......and we get another 18th century chest of drawers!!
Remember this guy from just a couple of months ago?

And this sweet little late 18th c. Italian girl from the last auction of 2019........

I think my spell of not winning chests of drawers has been broken.

Heather of "Habitually Chic" blog recently posted about Fleur Cowles' London Apartment in the very desirable address within Albany house where she entertained the Queen Mother and many British notables of the past century. Here's a photo of Fleur Cowles' living room

Notice the pink Louis XV-style side chairs?  They look a lot like  my pair of French Louis XV-style slipper chairs/chauffeuses......... (I think mine are cooler).


Way, way, way back in February 2012, when I first started blogging, I wrote a post about an English George II Bachelors Chest....the link is given below:

In it I said that I was a little green with envy regarding the chest.....

I think it's time for a little tutorial on American Chests vs. English (I'm not an expert; but I do know the basics). Sometimes it's hard to tell because many times the craftsmen came directly from England bringing their traditional wood working and construction methods with them. Of course, American Furniture of the 18th century derived its main inspiration from English Furniture.

This sweet little bachelors chest at first glance, although smaller and more vertical, appears to be very similar to the English bachelors chest, above--it's veneered in a costly burl wood **notice that it is booked veneer--great care was taken to mirror left and right sides of the drawers and continue the grain pattern vertically. Both chests have similar original hardware (most hardware was imported to the Colonies from England).

A closer look reveals that the American chest is less refined than the English example which has beautiful cross banding on the drawer fronts; whereas the American example does not. Neither of the chests have cock beaded drawers. The top of the English chest has cross banding; the American chest also has cross banding on the top.


Both chests retain their original deeply (oxidized) patinated back boards. And also retain their wonderful bracket feet.

The interior of the drawers reveals the pine secondary wood of the American chest. Although I do not have photos of the English Chest drawers, I assume that the secondary wood is oak, which was the customary secondary wood for chests of this quality.

As shown in the photo of the American Chest's drawer bottom, American drawer bottoms are nearly always chamfered--the edge is cut on a 45* angle to fit into a groove at the 90* angle formed by the front and the bottom. This  feature would be unusual in English  drawer construction.
For me, there's another consideration when deciding attribution: doesn't the American chest feel like it has a unique identity? (A little Rebel in the making?) It has great character without following a set formula for it's design--not so with the English chest. The English chest is wonderful, but just a bit boring when compared to the American Example of about the same time frame.
Unfortunately (but fixable), the English chest has had its original surface covered over with some sort of varnish or product. The American piece has not been stripped and retains its old, perhaps original, finish.
I hope this little tutorial is a first step in your  researching the differences in American and English case furniture.


We also acquired this great pair of French glazed ceramic lamps---can't wait to see them paired with the new little chest. The shades will need to be replaced, as those square guys are way to clumsy and disproportionate. 

It's hard to believe that we are already into our second week of 2020..........yikes! I think that 2020 will be an amazing year for me. Hoping that 2020 brings you tons of growth and blessings.

Mary & Cole

***** I can't help it---next post will be totally about the small narcissistic "t" that inhabits the White House very temporarily, if I can help it.